Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Lot Can Happen in Two Weeks

The Steelers' two-week suspension of Alameda Ta'amu buys time for the Steelers to decide what to do next.  The two-week window spans the next date on the court calendar for Mr. Ta'amu: Tuesday, Oct. 23 -- his preliminary hearing before The Honorable Presiding Judge Donna Jo McDaniel -- just the first step in a long, arduous legal process.

Indeed, head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that "there are other ramifications" that he is "not at liberty to discuss."

Whatever happens next, with five felony charges and 10 misdemeanor counts hanging over his head, does anybody really think Ta'amu's mind will be on football X's and O's anytime soon?  Is he going to immerse himself in film study and learning the playbook?  No doubt, he wishes that's what he'd been doing last Saturday night.

Ta'amu's prospects for a bright, promising, productive fun and lucrative NFL career are now secondary to his considerable legal troubles -- by a long measure.  He's in BIG trouble.

Maybe the Steelers should bring in Gabe Rivera to speak to the players every training camp.  Rivera was the defensive tackle the Steelers drafted in the first round instead of Dan Marino.  His rookie year, Rivera was paralyzed in a DUI crash.  He's in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

A Slap on the Wrist?
Maybe the Steelers are in wait-and-see mode on Ta'amu. Maybe not.  Maybe he serves the two-game suspension and ... what?  Returns to practice?  Will he really contribute to the team?

All we can do is wait and see what happens after next Tuesday's preliminary hearing.  The Steelers could extend the extension or cut him.  Neither seems likely.  At this point, we have to take the Steelers' two-game suspension at face value.  If he returns to the team, however, more than a few people won't be happy.

Beaver County Times columnist Mike Bires is one of them, as noted in this column.